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Thanks to pumpkin’s earthy-sweet flavor and bright orange color, this winter squash can be made into various delectable dishes, pumpkin pie included.
If you’re like me, a dog lover who enjoys binging on this sweet, savory treat, one question you probably have in mind is: Can dogs eat pumpkin pie?
Pumpkin, on its own, is healthy since it’s rich in vitamins and minerals. However, it’s a different story with pumpkin pie. If you want to know if it’s a snack your dog can eat, read on. Dog Food Guide is here to tell you the highs and lows of giving your dog pumpkin pie, and more.
Pumpkin & What You Need To Know About It
Fall not only signals the coming of cold weather but also kicks off the start of the pumpkin season. And who doesn’t love pumpkin?
A member of the Cucurbita family, this fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) is not only grown for human consumption but is also widely used for recreational purposes. It’s used in various recipes, including soups, pasta, ice cream, and even pastries like rolls, pancakes, bread, and Thanksgiving pies, and is a must-have during Halloween – think jack-o-lanterns.
Nutrition-wise, the pumpkin didn’t fail to impress us with its many health benefits. In fact, this nutrient-dense veggie-slash-fruit is considered a superfood. This is all thanks to the vitamins and minerals, which include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
Is Pumpkin Good For Dogs?
Before we talk about pumpkin pie, it’s worth knowing if its main ingredient is any good for your dog. And the short answer is YES.
Plain pumpkin is also a SUPER in the canine world. Loaded with essential nutrients, prebiotics, and fiber, feeding your dog pumpkin can help improve your dog’s digestion and boost your dog’s overall health.
But like any human food, don’t overdo it. Your pup is going to get stomach problems if you do. Also, fresh pumpkin is preferred over canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin, which is basically the same as cooked pumpkin puree, is often high in sodium and contains additives.
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Pie?
As mentioned, pumpkin is completely safe and is a healthy food for dogs. However, pumpkin pie isn’t all pumpkin, and not every ingredient included in the mix is okay for your dog.
So, can dogs eat pumpkin pie? It isn’t toxic, and a small bite won’t hurt your pup. Still, it offers little to no benefits. So, in our book, it’s best to keep this out of your dog’s paws' reach unless your pumpkin pies are made with all-natural, dog-safe ingredients.
Why Is Pumpkin Pie Bad For Dogs?
Yes, this traditional sweet dessert is truly yummy. Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas can never be complete without it.
Since times like this call for sharing, it’s easy to think that sharing this treat with your pets is A-okay. Unfortunately, it isn’t, especially if you plan to give them the whole pumpkin pie.
Truth be told, a lot of the other ingredients in pumpkin pie are harmful to your pets – with a few being toxic to dogs, especially when given in high doses. What are these? See below.
Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners
Pumpkin pie wouldn’t be considered a sweet treat without sugar. Those that don’t have sugar often contain artificial sweeteners.
Like humans, dogs can also suffer from sugar-related problems whenever you feed them too many sweets. This includes weight gain, diabetes, and tooth decay.
Artificial sweeteners, on the one hand, are a lot more harmful, especially if they contain xylitol. Xylitol is toxic to dogs and ingestion can lead to poisoning. Its symptoms include vomiting, low blood sugar, lethargy, staggering, and seizures.
High In Fat Ingredients
Fatty foods like oil, whipped cream, and butter can be harmful to your dog's health, especially if you feed this to your dog frequently.
For one thing, these types of foods can wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive system, causing diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. Worst comes to worst, it can also result in a painful condition called pancreatitis.
If you’re using raw pumpkin or canned pumpkin made of just one ingredient, which is pumpkin puree, then you don’t really have to worry about the amount of salt your dog will be getting.
On the one hand, the sodium content of some canned pumpkin brands and pumpkin pie filling might be too much for your pets. Be extra wary if your dogs have heart and kidney disease since these products often contain up to 600 mg of sodium.
Milk & Cream
Besides salt, sugar, and oils, pumpkin pie also contains cream and milk. Without these, your pie wouldn’t have that silky, smooth texture and creamy flavor.
So what’s wrong with these ingredients? Many dogs are lactose intolerant. If your dog is among them, your pet will most likely end up with diarrhea or an upset stomach after having a slice.
A pumpkin pie will never be complete without pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin pie filling, whether store-bought or homemade, often includes the following spices:
Cinnamon. Giving your dog small amounts of cinnamon is alright. However, a dog that has eaten too much is in big trouble.
Excessive consumption of this pumpkin spice can lead to skin irritation, diarrhea, vomiting, sudden drop in blood sugar, and liver disease. If this happens, contact your vet immediately.
Ginger. This spice is generally safe for doggie consumption, and the amount of ginger found in pumpkin pie is often within the safe zone for dogs. Note, though, that giving your dog too much ginger can make your dog gassy or nauseous.
Cloves or clove oil. Giving your dog small quantities of this spice is fine and can even be beneficial. But as always, excessive doses can result in various health problems, including GI distress, liver toxicity, dyspnea, and unconsciousness.
Nutmeg. Nutmeg is among the spices that are toxic to dogs. It contains a compound called myristicin. While a small amount of nutmeg would most likely not cause any harm, a dog ingesting large quantities of nutmeg is in danger.
So if your dog has eaten the whole pumpkin pie, watch out for signs of increased blood pressure and heart rate, dry mouth, disorientation, abdominal pain, hallucination, and seizures. You’d also want to contact your vet right away.
Pumpkin pie might be safe to eat in small amounts but it’s far from being healthy for your dog. So why take the risk?
However, if you can whip up a pie minus all the harmful ingredients like nutmeg and sugar, then why not? Otherwise, you can just stick to giving your dog food like a few slices of plain pumpkin. For sure, your dog will still enjoy it as long as it comes with plenty of TLC.